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Edward Kapodogo | ​Zimbabwe

What do you do in your home country and what do you hope to do upon your return? In particular, with the integration of your experiences here?

I am an entrepreneur. I am also a social economic activist currently working as a Senior Programs Officer and cofounder for an NGO called Vendors Initiative for Social Economic Transformation. We advocate for the rights of the people working in the informal sectors. We are trying to organize organized informal sectors around socio-economic issues. Having their voices strengthened to change their spaces by actively engaging policy makers. Also, they are able to influence good governance and transparency. That is our reason for existing, this organization.

We are into community mobilization and capacity building, we also do research on ongoing patents in the sector to influence this advocacy. We also do policy advocacy and lobbying.

There are many takeaways from my time here. I've created solid networks both with fellows and the American community. I am planning to come organize collaborations, such as doing an exchange with my peer collaborator. He can visit my country. We are trying to share advocacy skills, working as an inspiration to the community I serve. I also realize arts can be used as a very important tool for advocacy, and he works in art. Also during our lectures, there's something which I picked up which I really need to work on. Personal branding. I saw it as an important factor for me as a leader. How do you present yourself and how do people see you? How do you maintain that social media presence in a more professional way and how can it impact your work?

What is your favorite thing about your home country? How about Philadelphia?

I'm so inspired by the caliber of the people in Zimbabwe. It is striving through the informal sector. 94.4 percent are working in the informal sector. So to me, people have shown the capacity to strive through hardships. If it was another country people would be in the streets. I love the passion and resistance that the citizens have. I really love my country.

In Philadelphia, I like the way they are constructing their museums. They really document the history of America and its presence. They’ve managed to do it in a way that you can see as if you are a part of it. We have not managed to document our history in most African countries.

Do you have any hobbies or an interesting fact you wish to share about yourself?

In my spare time, I love football. Both playing and watching. And also reading. General networking.

If I were to come to your home country, what is the first thing I should eat?

Sadza and Road runner chicken. You eat the intestines of the animal.